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B'lore terror-struck, checks yield little

The police are convinced that Kafeel began working on his nefarious plans while in Bangalore, report Aditya Ghosh and BR Srikanth.
Hindustan Times | By Aditya Ghosh and BR Srikanth, Bangalore
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2007 04:19 AM IST

Kafeel Ahmed, the alleged Glasgow bomber, worked briefly for a software company called Infotech Enterprises in Bangalore, before leaving for the United Kingdom. But very few details of his activities there are available, the city police discovered on Tuesday.

“He worked with us from December 2005 to July 2006,” confirmed K.S. Susindar, head of corporate communications, Infotech Enterprises. “He worked with us as a design engineer. We have no clear idea why he quit. Our records do not reveal any specific reasons.”

“Nobody remembers him clearly because he did not mingle. Nor did he particularly stand out. But he was a very polite person,” said Susindar, adding that none of Ahmed’s colleagues had any inkling of his radical leanings.

But the company — which ranks leading aviation companies like Boeing and Airbus Industrie among its clients — could not give any information on the projects Ahmed had been involved with.

This, however, is hardly surprising. The police, looking into the backgrounds of Kafeel Ahmed and his brother Sabeel, have found that IT companies in the city have never bothered to collate much detail, or maintain any substantial database, on their employees. No information is stored in any central agency, even though IT employees often handle very sensitive data. There are also no checks to prevent the misuse of the wide bandwidth their companies provide them.

“We completely lack data on the background of employees in the IT sector. The industry and its associations, need to come forward to create one. It should be made mandatory,” MP Prakash, Karnataka’s home minister, told HT.

"Every country has a system in place by which it strictly monitors its IT employees. But here due to apathy of employers, there is very little screening of recruits or sharing of information. People are getting jobs after minimum checks and are given huge bandwidths which they can use even while using their computers at home. Misuse is quite possible," said Karthik Shekhar, general secretary, Union for Information and Technology Enabled Services (UITES).

With the Bangalore link to the failed terrorist attacks in the UK becoming apparent, background search companies are now making a beeline for the city and IT employers have finally begun to use them to check backgrounds of prospective employees. “It is absolutely critical that organisations conduct such checks so they do not have to face embarrassment later,” said Ashis Dehade, MD, West Asia, First Advantage Pvt Ltd.

The police are convinced that Kafeel began working on his nefarious plans while in Bangalore.

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